Eat Your Eggplant
Eggplant Parmesan is a favorite dish for many, but if that’s your only experience with eggplant, you’re missing out! This nightshade veggie, easily recognized by its shape and shiny purple skin, has a rich, hearty texture that makes it a great substitute for meat. Whether roasted, baked, or sautéed, eggplant can be the perfect complement to any number of recipes – from ratatouille to soups, stews, and curries. And with nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamins A and C, eggplant supports heart health and can help prevent certain diseases.
The following Chattanooga locals have created recipes that highlight this true star of summer. Read on for their easy-to-execute eggplant dishes!
Photography by Rich Smith
Did you know?
While it’s called “eggplant” in the United States and Canada, residents of the United Kingdom refer to eggplant by its French name: aubergine.
Hummingbird Pastaria’s Caponata (Sweet and Sour Eggplant)
By Patrick Halloran, Owner & Executive Chef | Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
- 2 Ibs. eggplant, peeled and diced
- 3 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 oz. kalamata olives, cut in half
- 2 oz. capers
- 1 oz. garlic, chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, julienned and blanched in salt water
- 2 ribs celery, chopped and blanched in salt water
- 2 cups roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 oz. golden raisins, plumped in Marsala wine
- 3 oz. white wine
- 3 oz. sherry vinegar
- 3 oz. honey
- Salt, to taste
- After peeling and dicing the eggplant, salt the pieces and press in a colander for 1 hour.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add oil. Add eggplant and caramelize for 5 minutes. Return the eggplant to the colander and allow to drain.
- Deglaze the pan using onions, olives, and capers. Cook until onions are soft.
- Add garlic, fennel, celery, tomatoes, raisins, white wine, and eggplant to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.
- Add vinegar and honey. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Adjust to taste with more salt, vinegar, or honey. Enjoy hot or cold.
Photos Courtesy of Kate Veltkamp
Kate Veltkamp’s Grilled Eggplant Rollatini with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Makes approximately 10
For the rollatini:
- 2 Italian eggplants, sliced lengthwise into strips
- Olive oil, for grilling
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 vine-ripened tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup vegan feta cheese (optional)
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup kale, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the lemon tahini sauce:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp. water to thin
- To reduce the bitterness of the eggplant, cover slices in salt and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. Before grilling, wipe down with a napkin to remove salt and bitter liquid.
- Brush a small amount of olive oil on each eggplant slice and grill until lightly charred, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate.
- Meanwhile, bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Reduce to a simmer and add couscous, cooking and occasionally stirring for about 8 more minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the remainder of the rollatini ingredients.
- Lay out an eggplant slice and spoon some couscous onto the end closest to you. Roll the slice away from you and tuck under. Repeat with remaining slices.
- Whisk together all tahini sauce ingredients and taste to see if it needs any adjustments. Drizzle over the top of the completed rollatini. Garnish with any leftover basil before serving.
Signal Mountain resident Kate Veltkamp is a food blogger and plant-based chef. She teaches cooking classes locally and online and is passionate about making vegan food for her family and community. Click here to check out Kate’s food blog!